Adventures in free shows from the ticketmaster lawsuit. #1 Janet Jackson

So here I am writing my first post for my music blog, starting with an artist I never would have guessed. Some backstory, I stopped using facebook because someone made a fake account with my picture and facebook would not do anything about it. I don’t know how to break it to you but those ads facebook has been running saying they are going to try to do better, yeah. . . they’re total bullshit. I know, I know not exactly a newsflash, facebook untrustworthy. Basically the only thing that I ever put there was pics from shows, so I’m sure no one will miss me and if they do is now available!!

I’ve seen lots of great music recently, Jenny Lewis, Kurt Vile, Mourn, Lucero . . . so naturally my first review is of Janet Jackson? Well thanks to ticketmaster ripping me off numerous times in the early 2000s I owned the maximum amount of codes you could get for free tickets.  (That would be 17) So far I had used exactly one of those codes, on Echo and the Bunnymen tickets to a show 4 plus hours from where I lived. I got them in case I could talk someone into going with me, I couldn’t. So I didn’t even go to the only code I used when I picked something off ticketmaster’s horrible list of shows that would be eligible.

This year I had a bit more luck. Now living in the Carolinas I was able to get free tickets to a show from a genuine musical icon. All be it one I couldn’t have named a song by for a million dollars.

I feel like I have always have know who Janet Jackson is. She is very famous but before the concert I tried to think of why I knew her best and all I could come up with was the superbowl nipple thing. I figured I would recognize a few songs, and I did!

ticketmaster sent a email saying the show would start promptly at 8, it didn’t. It started promptly at 8:45, I blame ticketmaster and not Miss Jackson (Hey, a reference! See I’m learning) After some incredibly stale nachos, a side order of fries and a pepsi shared between my wife and myself for the absurd price of $23.70, we headed to the lawn area at promptly 8. We were able to go right up to the barrier separating the lawn from the seats. It was on the far right side but we decided that as long as we could see Janet we could live without really seeing her drummer. Later a bit of Janet Jackson superfan ended up next to me. As the show went along it was apparent he could sign along to every song. I always love being next to someone like this, as opposed to, you know, two people yelling a conversation to each other the whole time.

Turns out I knew two Janet Jackson songs and was vaguely familiar with four or five others. I’m not sure how old Janet is and I’m not going to look it up because you aren’t paying me for this but the whole set was a workout for her, impressive. She danced the entire time, save only guitar solos, costume changes, and one break during which a DJ kept things going for a while. That same DJ had people dancing in the isles before Janet appeared, there was a definite lady from HR letting lose on her Friday nigh vibe, and that’s cool, no judgement, I was standing there like a lame statue.

Janet came out after a video played that included sound bytes from President Obama and Al Sharpton, among others, there were illusions to and the violence the world has seen lately, from mass shootings to the police murders of unarmed black people. It was the State of the World tour, after all. It was a bit a surprise to start with such a political edge from a pop icon but good for her. More people should be speaking up about this crap we are living through currently. The silhouette of Janet appeared behind a screen that raised to reveal her and it was off to the races. The songs mixed into each other with zero dead time. Some songs were packed into medleys, she only stopped at one point to silently stare at the audience as they cheered more and more. Not the kind of thing most could pull off. I don’t know how many other people were there on free ticketmaster lawsuit tickets but there was a big crowd. The FYF fest was recently cancelled for low tickets sales to this year’s iteration with Janet Jackson as the headliner but she had no problem in Charlotte.

The video screens played the guest parts on songs of featured artists not there, like Missy Elliot. One song included pictures of Janet and her father Joe Jackson who very recently died. The only reference to her brother was when his voice came through the speakers for the song “Scream”, but he was noticeably not on the video screens.

The show ended before 10:30, making it a fairly short show but I have almost nothing to compare it to. I have been to many many shows over the years but the closest thing to a straight up pop show I’d been to is Chvrches maybe. I was a couple of weeks or so removed from seeing Smashing Pumpkins play for 3 hours (minus time for videos inexplicably featuring Mark McGrath) so it seemed a bit light, but the crowd seemed cool with it. A ton of people streamed for the exiting as soon as Rhythm Nation was done, a song I had totally forgotten about but sort of knew. There was a one song encore after that and then it was over.

An hour and a half of Janet Jackson won’t right all the wrongs ticketmaster has inflicted on the music loving world but there will be a part 2 soon and you’re going to fucking love it. So stay tuned, for my next feat in the ticketmaster lawsuit free concert series will be watching 311 and the Offspring.






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